When I was growing up, I had 2 grandmothers. (I know, most people have 2 grandmothers – or more – but mine were still living then.) One of them liked me a lot. The other didn’t. There was never any doubt, and everybody knew nothing could be done to change the one who didn’t like me. It wasn’t just me… she only liked one grandchild, although I do feel there was a special “non-space” in her heart for me based on our differences.
So anyway, my grandmother that liked me (let’s call her Mozelle, because that was her name – cool name eh?) was a do-er, a maker, a “we don’t have much money but we can show we love you in a different way” kind of grandmother. When I was sick, or just needed a mental health day, I could spend it on her couch, watching The Price is Right and her afternoon “stories” on CBS. She let us cook in her kitchen, and I’m sure we made HUGE messes. There was always some sort of snack for us in her kitchen, whether it was fresh parched peanuts, or baked sweet potatoes, or even just saltine crackers and homemade butter. I have 14 first cousins on that side of the family (Tim says that getting married to me was a lot like My Big Fat Greek Wedding except with Southerners) and we used to play in the yard at her house while the adults sat around and talked after Sunday dinner. She wasn’t this goody-goody kind of grandmother – there was always that little zing of mischief.
I was very sad that Mozelle wasn’t alive when I married Tim, nor when I had the J-Man. I have an afghan she crocheted for my first marriage, and I pretend it’s for this one – you know, the real one. I bet she did too. I have a pair of baby booties she crocheted when she knew she was dying… so that each of the granddaughters would have a pair for our first child. We framed them, and they hang in the J-man’s room. By that time, she could only crochet for about 5 minutes at a time before her hands would fall asleep, and I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into them.
I had a dream awhile ago. I was sitting on Mozelle’s front porch (as opposed to the side porch) rocking, and watching the J-man play in the yard with his cousins. She sat in the rocking chair beside me, and we just talked. She saw how great my kid is, and kissed him all over, just like she did with all the great-grandchildren born when she was alive. We didn’t talk about anything major, or earth-shattering, but I knew she knew I was happy. That was enough for me. I like to think she’s somewhere out there, smiling down at us, even though I’m no longer her “Little Miss America.”
At my baby shower a few weeks ago, one of the cousins brought fruit salad, and she said it was Mozelle’s recipe. I don’t remember eating it at her house, but others do. It’s helped me this past week with the (still ongoing) nausea. It’s pretty acidic, and if you eat too much of it at one time, you’ll burn your tongue. I’m trying to decide if adding bananas, or maybe using sweeter apples, would help with that, but I kind of like it the way it is – just enough zing to it. She’s still giving me a snack when I need it. Here it is, something for you from Mozelle:
Mozelle’s Fruit Salad
2-3 apples, cored and diced (you can peel if you want; I don’t bother)
1 15 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 15 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
1 handful nuts (she used pecans; I used walnuts because I had some here)
2 “dollops” light mayonnaise (Duke’s is the best)
1 packet splenda (feel free to leave this out)
Mix together all the ingredients and chill.
I know, mayonnaise and fruit? But it’s really good. If you grew up Southern, you already knew that from having pear halves with a dollop of mayonnaise and shredded cheddar on top at church dinners. I’ve thought about adding shredded cheese to this!